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View Full Version : Kids Don't Call Their Parents Mom, and Dad Anymore?


dieinafire
06-30-08, 10:42 AM
The Link (http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/06/28/not_your_fathers_nicknames_when_teens_talk_to_parents/)

The Boston Globe
Not your father's nicknames when teens talk to parents
Katherine Donahue calls her mother Anne, 'Big Anne.' (Globe Staff / Wiqan Ang) Katherine Donahue calls her mother Anne, "Big Anne."
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size – + By Ellen Freeman Roth
Globe Correspondent / June 28, 2008

"Mom and Dad" and "Mr. and Mrs." are so passé. Call them Big Anne, P-Money, and G-Dog. Their kids do. So do their kids' friends.

Among some teenagers and twentysomethings, "Mom and Dad" are giving way to slangy, quirky nicknames.

Sometimes the nicknames spring up impromptu. Other times they migrate from kids' shorthand references for their parents into pet names. The simplest are variations on first and last names.

Consider "Shar Shar," the name a daughter's friend gave to Sharon Levitan in Weston.

" 'Shar Shar' sounds like I'm a cockapoo or something," Levitan lamented. "If they came up with something a little more mature, I wouldn't mind, since with these kids a nickname means you're endeared to them."

The change in the way these children address their parents probably stems from baby boomers' less authoritarian child-raising practices. Technology is a factor, too, given the offhand style that people use in instant messages and cellphone texts. The Internet has made people comfortable using names that are not their own - in particular, the frequent use of screen names online has made naming a bit more elastic, said Cleveland Evans, a psychology professor at Bellevue University in Nebraska who is a former president of the American Name Society, a group that studies the cultural significance of names. Screen names, he said, "might have made people freer to think of the same person addressed by multiple names, and that's what nicknaming is."

Lisa and Michael Josephson of Old Greenwich, Conn., are Mama Jo and Papa Jo, names coined by their daughter's friend. Timothy Sweet of Watertown began calling his father "Sweet Man" a dozen years ago on a Boy Scout trip. Sweet likewise has nicknames for his friends' parents, including "Glenzo" for Glen and "Pina" for Patricia.

Sarah Switlik, 18, a Babson College student from Princeton, N.J., said her mother, Pam, wasn't thrilled at first when Sarah called her P-Money. "Initially my mom said, 'Really, Sarah,' exasperatedly. Now when she's texting she signs off, 'Love, P$.' It makes her feel like one of the girls."

Walter Chick's sons renamed him "Atahualpa" (pronounced Atta-who-all-pah) when they were learning about the Incan sovereign. "I thought it was pretty bizarre," said Chick, who lives in Winchester.

But the name grew on him, so now he's Atahualpa - or sometimes Dada-hualpa or just Hualpa. "They'll call, 'Hey, Atahualpa!' and I'll come over."

Caroline Gaulin, 22, of Greenwich, Conn., yelled "My bad, G-Dog!" to her father, Dan, during a basketball game to make light of an error she'd made. "After that we started calling him G-Dog," she said. "Now he loves it."

That's not the case for all parents. Barbara Gross of Wellesley, a fund-raising professional who has two daughters in their early 20s, doesn't have a nickname, and she doesn't want one.

"It's really important for young people to know that they have role models who have more life experience and wisdom under their belts, so there's a polite and respectful distance," she said. "To me, a nickname connotes a friendliness that crosses that line."

Robert Reifsnyder, a psychologist and family therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital's Department of Child Psychiatry, said nicknames are healthy because it means children are inviting parents into their world.

"One of the reasons they might do it and we didn't is they've been brought up to give their opinions and speak their minds," Reifsnyder said. It's also a way for children to shift the relationship as they get older, he said. "Maybe they experience a little more power or equality by the process of naming you."

Katherine Donahue, 16, of Weston said many of her friends refer to their parents by nicknames, "but only a few of us do it to their faces." When two friends were visiting, she herself used "Big Anne" in frustration within earshot of her mother. Big Anne turned around quickly.

"All three jaws dropped, almost in suspense," recalled Katherine's mother, Anne. "I tried to get the better of her and her friends and said, 'What was that? Big Anne? I love it! I've never had a nickname and always wanted one. Thanks!' " Donahue said her daughter and daughter's friends now affectionately call her Big Anne.

Her son, however, thinks it's disrespectful, so he and his friends haven't adopted the nickname. "He does not approve," she said.

This is just absolutely crazy. If I called my Dad something weird like PMoney, or GDog, he would probably want to punch me in the face. This is the first I have heard about this. Has anyone else heard of this? Would you allow you kids to do this?

Groucho
06-30-08, 10:44 AM
My kids call me "Admiral".

crazyronin
06-30-08, 10:47 AM
Not referring to an adult as "Sir" or "Ma'am"...that's a beating.

superdeluxe
06-30-08, 10:47 AM
We will only have two names to our children.

Mom and Dad.

prp2
06-30-08, 10:49 AM
I do think that's just a little bizarre. I still call my parents "Mom" and "Dad," hell I even had a friend in college who called them "Mother" and "Father." Even though the psychologist says it's healthy by giving kids a way to let their parents into their world, I think there are other ways of doing it, and that just seems a little disrespectful.

GeoffK
06-30-08, 10:52 AM
I used to call my parents by their first names, they let me. I refuse to let my kids call me anything other than Dad. And they RARELY call me anything else.

orangecrush
06-30-08, 11:02 AM
My 3 year old calls me by my first name when he hears my wife talking to me. We correct him on the spot with "no, my name is daddy."

fiver
06-30-08, 11:07 AM
If I had kids, I absolutely would enforce mom and dad as the only name my kids were allowed to call me.

I remember once when I was 11 or 12 calling my dad by his first name and I thought he was going to blow his top.

It's disrespectful and I don't think it's just the kids that are to blame here. Moms who want to be 'one of the girls' or dads who don't want to (and aren't allowed) to enforce discipline any longer are hugely to blame for societal changes like this.

Michael

BuddhaWake
06-30-08, 11:24 AM
some of these are bad. but papa jo and mama jo aren't bad. and Atahualpa is a cool name. is a formal name like atahualpa yupanki, the musician.

beavis69
06-30-08, 11:25 AM
Not really a societal change if its not a mass change. No matter what the article may want you to think, stuff like this is rare. And if it works for a family, then there is nothing wrong with it. Once again, lets point fingers at something inconsequential to divert our eyes from real problems

Green Smurf
06-30-08, 11:29 AM
If I was to call my mom Kathy she would kick my ass and I'm 27.

tofferman
06-30-08, 11:32 AM
We will only have two names to our children.

Mom and Dad.

Same here...and every time I hear my stepdaughter (27) address my wife as "mother", it comes across as intentionally disrespectful. She does refer to her father as "dad", which shows where her allegiance lies.

Mole177
06-30-08, 11:34 AM
My 3 year old calls me by my first name when he hears my wife talking to me. We correct him on the spot with "no, my name is daddy."

Is your name Homer?

10-7
06-30-08, 11:44 AM
I used to call my parents by their first names, they let me. I refuse to let my kids call me anything other than Dad. And they RARELY call me anything else.
To your face. -wink-

macnorton
06-30-08, 11:48 AM
I have called my father by his first name since I was 3 (I'm 25 now). However that was because of something psychological that occurred when I was younger. It doesn't bother him at all, my mom doesn't like it, so I try to curb it when she is around. Also in conversation with people, I always say dad and not Keith.

VinVega
06-30-08, 11:48 AM
I had pet names for my parents. Still do. It's fun.

orangecrush
06-30-08, 11:54 AM
Is your name Homer?
The boy does have a surprisingly rubbery neck.

Shannon Nutt
06-30-08, 11:55 AM
I've always called my parents Mom and Dad, although when my mother ticks me off, I often refer to her as "that woman my father married". :)

FunkDaddy J
06-30-08, 11:56 AM
A friend of mine is bringing up his daughter so that she calls him Papa. A European mindset, I guess. But the other day, she was calling him Papa at a community park, and someone asked, "Are you her grandpa?"

I'd be curious to hear what people think of "Papa" as a name for father. I called my grandpa Papa growing up, so it's just weird to me.

al_bundy
06-30-08, 11:58 AM
my mother in law calls her mother by her first name

bishop2knight
06-30-08, 11:59 AM
A friend of mine is bringing up his daughter so that she calls him Papa. A European mindset, I guess. But the other day, she was calling him Papa at a community park, and someone asked, "Are you her grandpa?"

I'd be curious to hear what people think of "Papa" as a name for father. I called my grandpa Papa growing up, so it's just weird to me.

Do your kids call you FunkDaddy? I can't wait to see them again. I'm so going to get them to call you that. :lol:

FunkDaddy J
06-30-08, 12:01 PM
Do your kids call you FunkDaddy? I can't wait to see them again. I'm so going to get them to call you that. :lol:

As a matter of fact, my oldest daughter (8) sometimes calls me that, laughingly. Although, hearing her pronounce it, it sounds dirty, so I give her a wallop and send her to her room.

WallyOPD
06-30-08, 12:03 PM
I usually refer to my parents as Mom and Dad but I'll occassionally use my Mom's first name.

buckee1
06-30-08, 12:05 PM
We will only have two names to our children.

Mom and Dad.
:thumbsup:

DarkestPhoenix
06-30-08, 12:13 PM
I hope my kids call me Magneto.

Walter Neff
06-30-08, 12:30 PM
I called my grandpa Papa growing up, so it's just weird to me.

George Michael Bluth: I have Pop Pop in the attic.
Michael Bluth: The mere fact that you call making love "Pop Pop" tells me that you're not ready.

bishop2knight
06-30-08, 12:59 PM
As a matter of fact, my oldest daughter (8) sometimes calls me that, laughingly. Although, hearing her pronounce it, it sounds dirty, so I give her a wallop and send her to her room.

Whew. I had to re-read that to make sure I wasn't seeing things. :lol:

Tracer Bullet
06-30-08, 01:05 PM
Not really a societal change if its not a mass change. No matter what the article may want you to think, stuff like this is rare. And if it works for a family, then there is nothing wrong with it. Once again, lets point fingers at something inconsequential to divert our eyes from real problems

That's just what we do here, you'll learn the ropes soon enough.

But I think I love you. :lol:

AGuyNamedMike
06-30-08, 01:09 PM
Moms who want to be 'one of the girls' or dads who don't want to (and aren't allowed) to enforce discipline any longer are hugely to blame for societal changes like this...

http://img366.imageshack.us/img366/2787/meangirls4ft2.jpg

"I just want you to know, if you ever need anything, don't be shy, OK? There are NO rules in the house. I'm not like a *regular* mom, I'm a *cool* mom. "

macnorton
06-30-08, 01:22 PM
I guess this is a rarity. I do recall my friends being impressed that I called my dad by his first name...and they thought he wasn't my biological father (totally plausible because I look nothing like him). But to call him dad is totally weird for me.

Burgundy LaRue
06-30-08, 01:37 PM
When I was in high school, the mother of one of my classmates was named Martha Ann. Her kids called her Thann, because people had a tendency to cram her name into one word. We started calling her Thann after hearing her kids do it. She didn't seem to mind and it was the only time that I recall doing that with someone's parent. Usually, it was Mr. This and Ms. That.

I can't imagine calling my parents anything but something along the lines of Mother and Father, no matter how old I get. I will use my mom's actual name on occasion, but that's only if she's not listening to me. If I had tried to pull that when going to school, I wouldn't be alive to type this post today.

mndtrp
06-30-08, 03:07 PM
My parents are Mom and Dad. My grandparents are Grandma and Grandad. My friend's parents were called by their first names, but never nicknames. Teachers were always a Mr. or Mrs./Ms./Miss. I'll occasionally use a Sir or Ma'am, but there isn't much rhyme or reason to when I employ it.

Nothing has changed to this day with me. Every one of those people are still called what I called them as a child. When I bump into an old teacher, they are still the Mr./Mrs.

I hope my children will be the same way.

RunBandoRun
06-30-08, 03:11 PM
I am 43. My father is Daddy. My late mother was Mom or Mother. If I had called them Dave and Joan, they'd've belted me. The end. :D

gilbertr76
06-30-08, 04:11 PM
My mother has always been Mom. My father is Dad or Father depending on whether or not I feel any connection to him at the time. (He's Father when I'm feeling like he was nothing more than a sperm donor.) I was 12 when my mom married my current step-dad, so I've always called him by his 1st name.


My step-daughters use Gilbert, Gilby, Dough-Butt (how it sounded the 1st time their little sister tried to say my name), and Daddy. Daddy is used less and less, however, because it has been made known that their biological father HATES it.

The munchkin who does have a bit of my blood coursing through her veins uses both Dad and Daddy. On ocassion, though, she will use my first name because she hears her sisters using it.

LivingINClip
06-30-08, 04:16 PM
Weird.
My two years have nicknamed me, "Jackass".

Hope this doesn't catch on!

Red Dog
06-30-08, 04:33 PM
I wonder what Sharon Levitan would think of my last name.

I've never called my parents 'mom' and 'dad.' Well, not in English anyway. ;)

kstublen
06-30-08, 04:48 PM
I've always called my parents Mom and Dad, and occasionally, Ma'am and Sir. The only time I ever use their first names is if we are in public and saying, "Hey Mom/Dad," doesn't get their attention.

Goldberg74
06-30-08, 05:09 PM
We will only have two names to our children.

Mom and Dad.
Same here.

HistoryProf
06-30-08, 05:40 PM
My kids call me "Admiral".
that's fucking sick.

dieinafire
06-30-08, 05:55 PM
Weird.
My two years have nicknamed me, "Jackass".

Hope this doesn't catch on!

Ha ha. rotfl rotfl

wm lopez
06-30-08, 06:24 PM
You know who's to blame for?
HIP-HOP, RAP culture!

Dean Kousoulas
06-30-08, 07:37 PM
I would never think to call my parents anything other then Mom or Dad.

TomOpus
06-30-08, 07:50 PM
You know who's to blame for?
HIP-HOP, RAP culture!Uh, no. And I'm about as far from a rap/hip-hop person as you can get.

When my kids were like 7 and 8, they called us by our first names. We never made a big deal of it and they stopped after a few weeks.

Kids go through phases... ain't no thang.

iggystar
06-30-08, 07:56 PM
My daughter called to me by my first name and you should have seen the heads of my friends swing around. Her reasoning, "There are lots of Mommy's around here. I wanted you to know I was calling for you." I responded, "I know my own daughter's voice."

To sound dated, I didn't spend six months barfing my lungs out, 23 hours in labor, years of toil, including getting up every hour on the hour for feedings, changings, toilet training, helping with school, expenses to be called Vicky. I earned and continue to earn the title of Mommy!

Cool Kitten
06-30-08, 09:14 PM
I went through a phase when i was a teenager when i had a nickname for my Mom.
She actually liked it. It sort of fizzled out on its own.

DVDsAreMyLIFE
06-30-08, 09:44 PM
I always call my mom, mom. I sometimes call my dad, Pops or old-man.

mclori
06-30-08, 09:57 PM
I am 43. My father is Daddy. My late mother was Mom or Mother. If I had called them Dave and Joan, they'd've belted me. The end. :D

Bingo. I make an exception though for the little ones who consider me their ma. They refer to me as "meow" (which also means "when are you going to feed me?").

argh923
07-01-08, 01:34 PM
That's not the case for all parents. Barbara Gross of Wellesley, a fund-raising professional who has two daughters in their early 20s, doesn't have a nickname, and she doesn't want one.

"It's really important for young people to know that they have role models who have more life experience and wisdom under their belts, so there's a polite and respectful distance," she said. "To me, a nickname connotes a friendliness that crosses that line."

This makes me want to vomit. "Connotes a friendliness that crosses that line"? Yeah, let's not have "friendliness" between parent and child. Ugh.

argh923
07-01-08, 01:36 PM
You know who's to blame for?
HIP-HOP, RAP culture!

Nevermind...this is even more ridiculous than the first comment I quoted.

Although to give my dad shit for turning 50 in December, I did address him as "Hey, 50!" a couple of times around his birthday. I suppose 50 Cent is to blame. Shucks.

CloverClover
07-01-08, 02:42 PM
I call my parents by their first names, and occasionally I'll call my pops, pops. it is an imaginary form of respect though.. I'd say it's about time these imaginary rules were given way and people can focus on real respect and not the illusion of it... then again our entire society is based on maintaining illusions

Goat3001
07-01-08, 03:01 PM
This makes me want to vomit. "Connotes a friendliness that crosses that line"? Yeah, let's not have "friendliness" between parent and child. Ugh.

Agreed. And I think her reasoning is exactly why I think a pet name for parents it a GOOD thing.